Saturday, July 11, 2015

Samiei, Ancient Persia in Western History

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Hellenism and the Achaemenid Empire. On a new book from I. B. Tauris.

Boyarin, A Traveling Homeland

A Traveling Homeland
The Babylonian Talmud as Diaspora

Daniel Boyarin

192 pages | 6 x 9
Cloth Jun 2015 | ISBN 978-0-8122-4724-4 | $24.95s | £16.50
Ebook Jun 2015 | ISBN 978-0-8122-9139-1 | $24.95s | £16.50
A volume in the Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion series
View table of contents and excerpt

"After two decades of exciting debate, the theory of diaspora studies is now in gridlock and in need of new interventions. This is such an intervention—a strong and exhilarating book."—Khachig Tölölyan, Wesleyan University

"Daniel Boyarin demolishes the long-standing notion that diaspora was born out of despair and sorrow. A Traveling Homeland is a highly erudite, suggestive, and provocative study on the concept of diaspora, and the Jewish diaspora in particular."—Oded Irshai, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem

A word conventionally imbued with melancholy meanings, "diaspora" has been used variously to describe the cataclysmic historical event of displacement, the subsequent geographical scattering of peoples, or the conditions of alienation abroad and yearning for an ancestral home. But as Daniel Boyarin writes, diaspora may be more constructively construed as a form of cultural hybridity or a mode of analysis. In A Traveling Homeland, he makes the case that a shared homeland or past and traumatic dissociation are not necessary conditions for diaspora and that Jews carry their homeland with them in diaspora, in the form of textual, interpretive communities built around talmudic study.

For Boyarin, the Babylonian Talmud is a diasporist manifesto, a text that produces and defines the practices that constitute Jewish diasporic identity. Boyarin examines the ways the Babylonian Talmud imagines its own community and sense of homeland, and he shows how talmudic commentaries from the medieval and early modern periods also produce a doubled cultural identity. He links the ongoing productivity of this bifocal cultural vision to the nature of the book: as the physical text moved between different times and places, the methods of its study developed through contact with surrounding cultures. Ultimately, A Traveling Homeland envisions talmudic study as the center of a shared Jewish identity and a distinctive feature of the Jewish diaspora that defines it as a thing apart from other cultural migrations.

Jewish Palermo

A CAPSULE HISTORY: Rediscovering Jewish Palermo (by Irene Shaland and Bianca Del Bello, Special to The [Jewish] Chronicle).
Contrary to popular opinion, Sicily’s Jewish culture was not imported from Spain but came from Judea in antiquity as part of the Diaspora. Some sources date the arrival of the first Jewish settlers in Sicily to the destruction of Jerusalem’s Second Temple in 70 A.D. when Titus brought over 30,000 Jewish slaves to Rome, some of whom were later sent to the island of Sicily. Academics generally agree though that the Jewish presence in Italy began long before that. A sizable Jewish community was likely established in the southeastern part of Sicily in Siracusa during the Hellenistic Greek period. Encyclopedia Judaica quotes the record of the first known European Jewish poet Caecilius of Calacte moving to Rome from Sicily in 50 A.D., 20 years prior to Titus’ slaves. These records prove that the Sicilian Jewish community is the oldest in Europe.

The Phoenicians, a Semitic people, were the first to colonize Sicily in 800 B.C. They established a city-port they called Zis, now known as Palermo. They spoke a language similar to Hebrew and developed the first alphabet that was written like Hebrew. The Greeks came 100 years later, and 500 years later, the Romans. The Vandals came 500 years after the Romans, then the Arabs, the Normans, the Schwabians, the French and the Spanish. The last wave of invaders came after the unification of Italy in 1861. These were the “northern Italians,” as the locals call them.
I don't know anything about the history of Judaism in Sicily, so I'm just passing the article on to you. If a reader has any comments about its accuracy, just drop me a note. Cross-file under Phoenician Watch.

Lectures in Jerusalem

ABR LECTURE SERIES: Lee University Professors Present At Lecture Series In Israel (, The Chattanoogan).
Lee University’s Dr. Brian Peterson and Dr. William Simmons presented at the annual Associates for Biblical Research (ABR) lecture series in Jerusalem, Israel. This lecture series, focused on biblical archaeology, is associated with ABR’s ongoing work at Khirbet el-Maqatir, an archaeological dig where both Dr. Peterson and Simmons have worked.

Dr. Peterson presented a paper discussing first-century home construction techniques. The paper is due to be published this year in ABR’s quarterly journal, Bible and Spade.

“This presentation was rooted in my excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir, which have given me insight into how houses in the central highlands of Israel were constructed during the time of Jesus,” said Dr. Peterson. “This work in turn may help us understand Jesus’ role as a ‘carpenter’ (Mark 6:3) living in the hills of the Galilee. Jesus may not have been a “woodworker” per se but rather a stone mason/craftsman.”

He also delivered a second paper on the ritual desecration of figurines at Hazor and Maqatir.


Dr. Simmons presented a paper titled “Jewish Conflict and the Roman Conquest of Israel” that examined the detrimental effects of internal Jewish factions on Israel’s security compared to the external threat of the Romans.


More on Susa

ANCIENT ORIGINS: The ancient city of Susa in Iran is a worldwide treasure (ROBIN WHITLOCK). This article, inspired by the recent naming of Susa as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is not a bad overview of the history of the city. But it could nuance its discussion to clarify the legendary nature of the book of Daniel and of the tomb attributed to him in Susa.

More on that (traditional) Tomb of Daniel is here and here. And more on Susa (in relation to the book of Esther) is here.

Friday, July 10, 2015


YONA SABAR: Hebrew word of the week: Tefillin (Jewish Journal).

Eastman, The Ancient Martyrdom Accounts of Peter and Paul

NEW BOOK FROM THE SBL PRESS: Ohio Wesleyan professor’s book explores deaths of apostles Peter, Paul.
In a new book, an Ohio Wesleyan University professor, David L. Eastman, explores accounts of the deaths of the apostles Peter and Paul, including tales of attack dogs, a severed head lost and a showdown with a sorcerer.

The Ancient Martyrdom Accounts of Peter and Paul (Writings from the Greco-Roman World) has been published by Atlanta-based SBL Press.


British archaeologists to the rescue

THAT'S THE SPIRIT: Indiana Jones-style defenders to protect antiquities from ISIS (Eli Leon and News Agencies, Israel HaYom).
Footage of Islamic State group destroying ancient statues at the ruins of Palmyra sets the cultural preservation community into motion to protect historic sites throughout Syria and Iraq • Britain funds mission of archeologists to the region.
More details in the cited Daily Beast article by Nico Hines: Real-Life Indiana Jones Vs. ISIS.

More on ISIS's assault on the past is here and links.

Palmyra on the verge of being retaken?

PALMYRA WATCH: Syrian Regime Poised to Retake Ancient Palmyra. Syrian soldiers wage pitched battle against ISIS just kilometers from ancient city that was seized in May, can enter city 'at any moment.' (Arutz Sheva). We'll see. If this does happen, I hope it does not result in the ruins being blown to smithereens. And it sounds as though whatever happens, it isn't going to be easy for civilians in the city.

Background here and links.

More on that Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities report

POLITICS: National Academy of Sciences criticizes politicization of Israeli archaeology. State’s links with right-wing Elad NGO come under fire in report; Elad: Report is biased against us (Nir Hasson, Haaretz).
In a comprehensive report on Israeli archaeology, the National Academy of Sciences criticizes the political use of archeology, the far-reaching cooperation between the right-wing Elad association and the Nature and Parks Authority, the prohibition on researching skeletons and the transformation of Israel into a center for illegal trade in antiquities.

The report, published last week and written by a committee headed by eminent archaeologist Prof. Yoram Tsafrir, is based on meetings with many office-holders who work in aspects of the field, including the curriculum in archeology departments, the state of research, Antiquities Authority digs, site preservation, looting, trade in antiquities and more. The reported lauded the high quality of Israeli archeological research and of teaching at the universities.

The only individual who refused to appear before the committee was the head of the right-wing Elad association, David Be’eri. Elad is involved in Jewish settlement in the Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem and operates the City of David National Park there, under an agreement it has with the Nature and Parks Authority. Under that agreement, for several years now a number of the most important and extensive archeological digs in the country have been carried out. The organization is also funding most of the excavations in the area of the park.

According to Elad offcials, Prof. Tsafrir – a Hebrew University professor emeritus who in the past petitioned the court against Elad because of its intention to build a residential neighborhood on top of the antiquities, is tainted with politicization. In light of Be’eri’s refusal to appear before the committee, representatives from organizations on the left that are attacking Elad and its connections with the state were not invited to appear before the committee either.

This story was mentioned in a post on another topic yesterday, but this article has much more information. Background on Elad is there and links. Professor Tsafrir has been mentioned before in PaleoJudaica posts here and here.

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Israel and West-Bank archaeology

POLITCS AND LAW: Israel cites boycotts, foreign relations in refusal to divulge West Bank archaeology info. Publishing archaeologists' names could endanger their professional future, says state to justify ignoring Freedom of Information Law. (Nir Hasson, Haaretz).
The State of Israel has argued in court in cannot comply with the Freedom of Information Law regarding the identities of archaeologists who excavate in the West Bank because doing so could endanger their professional future.

It also refused to give any information about what has become of artifacts excavated in the territories, for fear of “undermining the state’s foreign relations,” according to a brief filed with the Jerusalem District Court earlier this year.

The case began two years ago, when two left-wing organizations, Yesh Din and Emek Shaveh, filed a freedom of information request seeking data about digs in the West Bank.

For digs in Israel, the information they sought would be readily available through the Israel Antiquities Authority. But digs in the West Bank are under the authority of the Civil Administration, which refused to divulge most of the requested information. The organizations consequently petitioned the court against this refusal a year ago.


Meanwhile, the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities on Tuesday released a report on the state of Israeli archaeology that criticized the political use made of archeology, the close cooperation between the right-wing organization Elad and the Israel Nature and Parks Authority, and the ban on excavating human remains, imposed at the demand of the ultra-Orthodox. It also charged that Israel has become a center for illegal trade in antiquities.

More on Elad and Emek Shaveh here and here and links.

UPDATE (10 July): More on the abovementioned Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities report here.

Digging at Huqoq

INTERVIEW: Archaeology student digs deeper (Melonie McLaurin, Your Daily Journal). With Austin Glock Andrews, a UNC Chapel Hill student-volunteer at the site.

Background on Huqoq, best known for its remarkably ancient mosaics, is here and links.

Pe-‛Ayin or ’Ayin-Pe? Details matter!

THE HEBREW ALPHABET: The Unusual Pe Preceding Ayin Order in the Acrostics of the Book of Eikhah (Mitchell First, Jewish Link of New Jersey). An interesting application of evidence from the Dead Sea Scrolls and ancient Hebrew/Canaanite inscriptions to an old crux interpretum in one of the Psalms.

There is more on the Tel Zayit abecedary inscription and related finds here and links.

Who reads the Bible in Israel?

BUT THAT MEANS 70% HAVE: Poll: 30% of Secular Israelis Have Never Read Tanach (Eliyahu Berkowitz, JPUpdates). I bet the percentage who have for religiously non-observant Britons and North Americans is lower.

The article has many additional interesting statistics about biblical literacy in Israel.

Demons, treasure, and tomb violaters in Jerusalem

FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF CREATIVE EXCUSES: Man Caught in Attempted Tomb Robbing: ‘I Wanted to Banish the Demon that Guards the Cave’ (Tazpit News Agency/The Jewish Press)
According to IAA spokesperson, during his preliminary investigation the family’s patriarch told investigators at the scene that he was in fact an exorcist by profession and a remover of curses. He explained that his sons alerted him to a presence of a demon guarding the cave.

“The man, claiming to be an exorcist admitted to his investigators that his purpose was to rob the burial cave of its potential treasure.” Rotstein told Tazpit. “However, he stated that he was so convinced that there would be a great treasure in the cave because a demon was guarding it and he came to banish the demon from the cave.”

The unit chief explained that it is a well-known phenomenon in the Arab population, even when discovering natural caves, to send in a “specialist” to clear it from evil spirits and demons.

He fought the book burners and won

JOHANNES REUCHLIN: The Renaissance Scholar Who Rescued The Talmud, Zohar and Other Books of Jewish Learning (Howard Zik, The Jewish Press).
It may, therefore, be said that in addition to saving the sacred books for Jews for future generations, Reuchlin opened the door to a revolution in the world of science by establishing a vital connection with productive ideas in Kabbalistic thought.
More on Isaac Newton's writings in relation to Judaism is here and links. Sadly, as we saw very recently, there are still people who want to burn the Talmud.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

LXX prize

IOSCS: The John William Wevers Prize in Septuagint Studies.
The International Organization for Septuagint and Cognate Studies (IOSCS) offers an annual prize of $350 to be awarded to an outstanding paper in the field of Septuagint studies. The prize has been named in memory of John William Wevers to honor his many contributions to Septuagint studies.

For (academically) younger scholars only. The deadline for submission is 15 August. Follow the link for further particulars.

UNESCO vs. Israel

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: UNESCO set to condemn Israel for ‘endangering’ Jerusalem’s Old City. Foreign Ministry slams Arab-led resolution as ‘completely one-sided,’ says it ‘deliberately ignores’ Jewish and Christian ties to city (Times of Israel/AP).

The CNN piece mentioned in this article was noted here and here.

Roman camp discovered near Megiddo

EXCAVATION: In first, imperial Roman legionary camp uncovered near Megiddo. Archaeologists unearth remains of 2,000-year-old Galilee garrison of Sixth Legion Ferrata, where 5,000 men kept order at time of Bar Kochba Revolt — the only permanent Roman military camp ever discovered in region (ILAN BEN ZION, Times of Israel).
The number of Roman military camps of this type found in the eastern half of the Roman Empire “is zero,” said Matthew J. Adams, head of the Albright Institute and co-director of the dig: “Our entire understanding about Roman military architecture, and especially Roman legionary bases for this particular period… comes from the western empire — Germany, Britain and Gaul.”

St Mary's Church in Mosul reportedly destroyed

Mosul: Isis Blows Up Another Ancient Church in Iraq, 4 Children Killed Accidentally (Johnlee Varghese, International Business Times).
The Islamic State (Isis) militants accidentally killed four children while blowing up an ancient church in the Iraqi city of Mosul.

The historical St Mary's church was destroyed by the Isis on Monday, Kurdish news source - Rudaw reported.

The four Iraqi children were near the church and were killed in the explosion, Saeed Mamuzini, media officer of the Mosul branch of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (PDK), told Rudaw.

Mamuzin added that the church located in central Mosul was "thousands of years" old.

I cannot find any information on how old the Chaldean Catholic Church of the Virgin Mary in Mosul is (was?), but this article seems to indicate that there is a tradition that it is ancient.

More on ISIS's assault on the past is here and here and many links.

Jewish studies teaching fellowship at KCL

JOB: Teaching Fellow in Jewish Studies.
King’s College London is seeking an outstanding Teaching Fellow in Jewish Studies (0.4 FTE). This is a permanent post with a start date of 1st September 2015. The successful candidate will teach in the field of Jewish Studies with a particular focus on rabbinic literature. S/he will have a track record or potential as a researcher in the area of specialisation. Expertise in related areas, such as Jewish history and culture in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, Jewish-Christian or Jewish-Muslim relations, and Jewish Thought, will be welcome.

The search closes on 30 July. Follow the link for further particulars

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Aramaic Studies on the Babylonian incantation bowls

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Studies on Aramaic Magic Bowls and Related Subjects. A special issue of the Journal Aramaic Studies.

Vows and teaching fees in the Talmud

THIS WEEK'S DAF YOMI COLUMN BY ADAM KIRSCH IN TABLET: Is It Fair To Charge Fees for Religious Education? This week’s Talmudic debate is centered on the perceived and real benefits of study, teaching, and sacrifice.
As summer rolls on, Jewish parents everywhere are getting ready for the annual tradition of writing tuition checks for Hebrew school or Jewish day school and the accompanying tradition of complaining about the high cost of Jewish education. But is it, in fact, permitted under Jewish law to charge for the teaching of Torah? This week’s Daf Yomi reading raised that interesting question, in connection with the core subject of Tractate Nedarim, the taking of vows. The most common form of vow-taking, the Talmud has shown over the last few weeks, is vowing to forbid a certain individual from “deriving benefit” from oneself—or vice versa, to refuse to derive benefit from a given person. This kind of one-on-one excommunication is frowned upon by the rabbis, since it involves God in what is usually just a personal dispute. But once such a vow is taken, the Talmud asks, what is its scope? What sorts of actions are defined as “benefits” in a legal sense?

Earlier Daf Yomi columns are noted here and links.

Jacobus on 4Q208-4Q209

Reconstructing 4Q208–4Q209 as an Astronomical Artefact

It is probable that 4QZodiac Calendar may be a Jewish-Aramaic descendant of similar late Babylonian zodiacal calendar texts with which it bears close structural similarities.

See Also: Zodiac Calendars in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Their Reception (Brill Academic Pub, 2014).

By Helen R. Jacobus
Department of Hebrew and Jewish Studies
University College London
July 2015
Her book was noted earlier here. Related posts are here and here.

Eilat Mazar

PROFILE: Dr. Eilat Mazar: Biblical Archaeologist (Prof. Livia Bitton-Jackson, The Jewish Press).

Past posts on Dr. Mazar are here and here. She has been mentioned often at PaleoJudaica.

CNN and the Temple Mount

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: CNN is coming under severe criticism for including the Old City of Jerusalem (with mention of the Dome of the Rock) at the top of its list of endangered historical sites, while leaving out another obvious one. It does seem like an odd list.

Dome of Rock tops CNN list of sites on ‘verge of extinction'; no place for Palmyra. Jerusalem holy place at No. 1 on ‘Last chance to see’ list. Syrian city, whose iconic 2,000-year-old lion was smashed last week, misses out (Times of Israel/JTA).

CNN Claims Jerusalem’s Old City Endangered But Has No Room for Palmyra (Jonathan S. Tobin, Commentary Magazine).

Cross-file under Palmyra Watch. Background on the CNN story is here. Background on Palmyra is here and links.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Kurdistan's Jewish heritage

EDITORIAL: Kurdistan needs help to preserve its Jewish heritage. In present-day Kurdistan, the Jewish heritage and its stories are almost forgotten (JUDIT NEURINK, Jerusalem Post).
A main feature of the synagogue is the tomb of the biblical prophet Nahum, who correctly predicted the end of the Assyrian Empire – although his bones have for safety reasons been moved to a nearby church. Until the Fifties, Jews from all over the country would come here on a yearly pilgrimage during Shavuot. “He who has not made the pilgrimage to Nahum’s tomb has not yet known real pleasure,” the common saying was then.

Al Qosh now is a Christian town. Once it was a mixed town, where Christians and Jews lived in harmony, like in so many other places in Iraq. The key to the synagogue’s gate is now guarded by the son of an old Christian friend of the last rabbi, who was one of the last to leave in the early ‘50s, when after the creation of the State of Israel Jews were made to feel they were no longer welcome.

Yet Jews in Iraqi Kurdistan – where Al Qosh is situated from a geographic point of view, although politically it is part of the Iraqi government of Baghdad – were very much part of the fabric of the society. They were mainly farmers and craftsmen, living side by side with the Kurds, and in the process taking over many of their habits. Although intermarriage was not common, friendships were.
Background on the (traditional) Tomb of Nahum in Al Qosh is here and links. And more on Aramaic-speaking Jews in Kurdistan is here and links.

New World Heritage Sites

UNESCO has released a list of newly declared World Heritage Sites, some of which are of PaleoJudaic interest:

Ancient Jewish necropolis named World Heritage Site. UNESCO adds Beit She’arim’s Roman-era catacombs, where author of Mishnah is buried, to list of protected locales (Stuart Winer, Times of Israel).
The World Heritage List enshrined Beit She’arim because its catacombs contain a “treasury of artworks and inscriptions in Greek, Aramaic and Hebrew” and bear “a unique testimony to ancient Judaism under the leadership of Rabbi Judah the Patriarch, who is credited with Jewish renewal after 135 CE.”
Some past posts on Beit She'arim (Beit Shearim) are here, here, here, here, here, and links.

Susa, of Purim story fame, becomes World Heritage Site. Ancient city known in the Bible as Shushan is said to be where dramatic events in Scroll of Esther played out (Times of Israel/AFP).

A couple of past posts pertaining to Susa are here and here.

Jesus baptism site and France champagne hillsides get Unesco heritage tag (Jayalakshmi K, International Business Times)
The Jordanian site where Jesus was baptised is among many new places added to Unesco's heritage list.

"Bethany Beyond the Jordan" (Al-Maghtas), situated on the eastern bank of the River Jordan and 9kms north of the Dead Sea, encompasses Elijah's Hill and the area that houses remains of churches of Saint John who baptised Jesus of Nazareth.

The site features Roman and Byzantine remains including churches and chapels, a monastery, caves that have been used by hermits and pools in which baptisms were celebrated.

This is a possible site of the baptism of Jesus, but not the only possible one. Background here and links.

ISIS execution video in Palmyra

PALMYRA WATCH: IS video shows mass execution in Syria’s ancient Palmyra. Jihadist group releases footage of teenagers shooting government soldiers at the city’s Roman amphitheater (AFP). The story of the amphitheatre executions was first reported at the end of May.

A reminder that the barbarities of ISIS go far beyond the destruction of antiquities.

More background on Palmyra is here and links.

No reports of Talmud burning

NAZIS. I HATE THESE GUYS. London 'anti-Jewification' demo dwarfed by anti-fascist counter-protest. Lines of police keep two groups apart as neo-Nazis stage demonstration against Jewish neighbourhood watch group (Damien Gayle, The Guardian).

This story has taken various twists and turns, but I don't like to give these people any more media oxygen than absolutely necessary, so I haven't posted on them. You can read the article above, if you are curious. The only point of interest for PaleoJudaica is that there is no indication so far that the planned private Talmud burning ever took place. I hope the threat of it was just a ploy for attention.

Meanwhile, this revolting story reminded me of a post from some years ago which remains timely: The futility of book-burning.

CNN's 25 structures to see before they are destroyed

TEMPLE MOUNT WATCH: CNN lists Dome of the Rock among 'magnificent structures on the verge of extinction.' The Temple Mount structure makes the number one spot on the list of places to see before they are destroyed. (RO YEGER, Jerusalem Post). To be a bit more precise, the list begins with the Old City of Jerusalem and mentions the Dome of the Rock and has a photo of it. Petra and Pompeii are also on the list.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Dissertation on Rabbinic agricultural spaces by John Mandsager

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Dissertation Spotlight: John Mandsager.
Mandsager, John. To Stake a Claim: The Making of Rabbinic Agricultural Spaces in the Roman Countryside. Ph.D. dissertation, Stanford University, 2014.
This dissertation spotlight column in AJR is a great idea. I hope we'll see more of them.

Review of Seland (ed.), Reading Philo

Torrey Seland (ed.), Reading Philo: A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria. Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2014. Pp. xvi, 345. ISBN 9780802870698. $45.00 (pb).

Reviewed by Sami Yli-Karjanmaa, University of Helsinki (


“I’m afraid of him.” This comment about Philo by an established biblical scholar which I once heard in an international gathering is, I think, reflective of the reasons why Philo is still used so little in both biblical and classical studies. The “fear of getting him wrong,” so the scholar specified, is understandable given the large size of his corpus, the complexity of his allegories and the (largely unfounded) reputation of inconsistency. Given this state of affairs, every opportunity should be seized to make the Alexandrian exegete more accessible. My perception of this need informs this review: seasoned scholars who have yet to embark on the study of Philo differ little in this respect from the M.A. and Ph.D. students at whom Reading Philo is aimed. There are not too many handbooks on Philo, and additions are warmly welcome. They should have clarity, consistency and comprehensiveness as their aims.

There's more on the book here and here.


TRAVEL: Axum: Chronicles of Ethiopia’s long history (Adie Vanessa Offiong, Daily Trust). A nice, brief overview of the history of Axum (Aksum), which came up most recently in the story of the Ethiopian Sleeping Beauty, but has also featured in PaleoJudaica posts dealing with the Queen of Sheba, legends about the Ark of the Covenant, and other stories. Follow the latter link for specifics.

Review of Müller, Pakkala, and Romeny, Evidence of Editing and Pakkala, God’s Word Omitted

MARGINALIA REVIEW OF BOOKS: Signs of a New Age in the Study of the Formation of Biblical and Other Ancient Texts – By David M. Carr. David M. Carr on Reinhard Müller, Juha Pakkala, and Bas ter Haar Romeny’s Evidence of Editing and Juha Pakkala’s God’s Word Omitted.
Study of actual evidence of editing, then, may contribute to convergence between the different cultures of biblical scholarship in Europe and North America. Though Pakkala and (in Evidence of Editing) Müller and Romeny inveigh against North American colleagues for their skepticism about exact reconstruction of editorial layers, Pakkala himself uses documented examples of editing to argue for more such skepticism in God’s Word Omitted. Pakkala and colleagues remain more confident about literary reconstruction than most North American colleagues, including myself. Moreover, their assumptions about Israelite history remain quite different from scholars like myself, whose conclusions (my own characterized in some American discussions as “European”) Pakkala deems “rather conservative.” Nevertheless, a review of these two works shows both the importance of scholarly audience in framing an academic message, and the possibility that a body of data — in this case documented cases of literary growth — might undermine divides between scholarly cultures on what is methodologically possible and necessary.

Ahmadi, The Daēva cult in the Gāthās

BIBLIOGRAPHIA IRANICA: Ideological archaeology of Zoroastrianism. A note on a new book: Ahmadi, Amir. 2015. The Daēva cult in the Gāthās: An ideological archaeology of Zoroastrianism (Iranian Studies 24). New York, NY: Routledge. It addresses the origins of Zoroastrianism.